Tom loves his scooter. He’s had a scooter for most of his school life, it’s his pride and joy. I discovered it was much easier to get him to school if he could scoot there and once he got a set of wheels, he never wanted to walk anywhere again. He scoots to school and back, he scoots to the shops, he scoots to his grandparents’ house, he scoots to the park, he scoots to the hairdresser’s and the dentist’s. If he can possibly get away with scooting there, he scoots. Walking is for peasants, wheels are the way forward!
He scoots around the playground at the end of school, waiting until the crowd of parents and children has ebbed away, competing in imaginary races with characters from certain favourite television programs and games that he enjoys. He always wins. I’m the announcer and the race starter, commentating on who he is competing against and the type of round he is competing in. We do a few normal rounds, then a slo-mo round, then a speed round and then a normal round again. Before heading home he has to scoot to the same starting spot every time and glides to the school gate. We cross the road and then I have to start him off again and he speeds off along the path, round the corner and into our street while I bring up the rear, laden with school bag and lunch box. A boy cannot be encumbered when he’s facing a deadly rival!
We do the races every day, rain or shine. I’ve sat on the bench in the playground watching him do his five laps, huddled in winter coat, hat and scarf, my body heat being sucked away by the bitter wind. I’ve sad on the bench in the playground in the pouring rain, umbrella and Wellington boots keeping me dry while the rain slants underneath my umbrella and mists up my glasses. I’ve sat on the bench in the playground in the scorching heat, sweating and feeling my makeup melt off my face. So many times, I’ve wished we could just go home like everybody else, but I know that the races are Tom’s release after a day cooped up in a noisy classroom. When he is on his scooter he is free, alone, only the wind in his ears and the sensation of the air moving across his body and his face as he glides. It is sensory heaven. It is his way of decompressing.
Next year, he probably won’t be scooting to school and back because I won’t be taking him to school. I will be encouraging him to walk to and from school on his own, and he will have to lock the scooter up. I’m not sure that I can trust him to be able to remember to lock up his scooter, or to remember the combination for the lock or not lose the key, and so I am going to suggest he leaves his scooter at home. I’m not sure how that will go down but I’m guessing not that great. However, that’s a bridge to cross another day.
In the meantime, I will cherish watching my boy’s joy as he glides effortlessly and elegantly across the playground for the last few days of his primary school career, sun shining down, scooter wheels whirring, the champion of each and every race. He even beats Lewis Hamilton!